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Re: Titanosaurs from Malawi

> Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 09:15:43 -0400
> From: Jeff Hecht <jeff@jeffhecht.com>
>> The key insight here is that, unlike hardware, the software to read
>> various file formats does not decay over time.  It may now be
>> increasingly difficult to read punch-cards, paper tapes, mag-tapes
>> and 5+1/4" floppies, and no doubt the day will come when it's hard
>> to read CDs; 3+1/2" floppies are already under threat.  But
>> electronic files live forever thanks to the wonder of 100% accurate
>> copying -- not only of the files themselves, but also of the
>> software that reads them.
> Actually, obsolete commercial software is a serious problem. Even if
> you can get a digital copy, it may not run on any computer
> available. In theory, you might be able to write an emulator so you
> could read a document, but that won't be done for everything. PDF
> files and Word documents won't likely be a problem, but old word
> processors already area problem. I don't think any commercially
> available software that runs on a state-of-the-art Macintosh today
> will read or translate files saved in the MacWrite format that was
> the de-facto standard for Maintosh word processing for many
> years.

Yes; from that perspective, it's been a dark couple of decades.
However, the world has moved on now, and no-one would be stupid enough
any more to make a document in a proprietary format be the reference
version.  There will _always_ be PDF readers.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "You are a highly motivated individual who wants to be on the
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